In May 2018 Mitch O’Farrell Held Secret Invite-Only Meetings With So-Called “Key Community Stakeholders” To Build Buy-In For Hollywood Bridge Housing — Larchmont Charter School Supreme Commander-For-Life Amy Dresser Held Was Among Those Invited — She Then Helped Orchestrate Community Meetings With Dan Halden To “Clear Up Any Misconceptions” — And Listen To More Made-Up Anti-Homeless Housedweller Grievances — And Hear His Promises Of “Additional Enforcement Tools” Against Homeless Human Beings — In Exchange He Proceeded To Spend Months Doing Special Little Favors For These Whiny And Entitled LCS Privatizers

Readers of this blog surely don’t need me to explain how Prop HHH money, meant to establish so-called bridge housing to help alleviate our crisis of homelessness, has at best been spent far too slowly and too ineffectively and at the worst corruptly and in secret. But despite all that, creepy little CD13 repster Mitch O’Farrell did manage to organize one of these projects in Hollywood.

And his flack Tony Arranaga’s inordinately superficial press release on the subject, touting the only-from-an-inordinately-superficial-perspective success of this project is well worth reading.1 And of particular interest in that slew/slough of whah-whah-whahwawawa, there is this little number right here:

The office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell has championed this project from the start: Councilmember O’Farrell originally introduced the motion which paved the way to build the project on the City-owned parking lot; his office led the community outreach before and during construction; and the office served as the liaison between City departments, partnering agencies, and local stakeholders.

This business about the community outreach and the liaison between City departments, partnering agencies, and local stakeholders is of the utmost interest. I’ve spent a little time looking into the processes by which Los Quince Jefes construct the appearance of community buy-in for their pet projects, most notably as orchestrated by Jose Huizar and by Gil Cedillo in the notorious case of the demolition of Parker Center.

And of course another interesting line of inquiry I’m presently working on is charter schools. I don’t know enough about them yet to narrow2 my inquiries, but I’m learning, mostly via my usual technique of reading3 their damn emails. I recently got gigantic set of goodies from Larchmont Charter School, in particular from their supreme commander Amy Dresser Held. These have so far yielded up a couple of really interesting stories.4

Like for instance the one about how Amy Dresser Held used her personal connections with high-powered senior staffies of LAUSD school boardie Icky Sticky Nicky Melvoin to get a luxe internship for a family friend or the one about how Amy Dresser Held and the Icky Sticky one had a mutually satisfying comfort sesh about how mean and crazy the charter-haters were being. And today, before your very eye, friends, these different lines of inquiry have merged into one!

You see, among all those emails sent to me by LCS were well over a hundred between Most High Brigadier-in-charge Amy Dresser Held and Mitch O’Farrell’s chameleonic Hollywood button man, Dan X. Halden.5 You can browse through the whole subset here on Archive.Org, and turn the page for transcriptions and discussion, the better to relate the tale so adroitly summarized for you in the headline above!

The story begins on April 9, 2018, with this email from Dan Halden to Amy Held, announcing a small and invite-only meeting, not in any way coincidentally hosted at the office of the Hollywood Entertainment District BID, to discuss the proposed bridge housing project that Mitch O’Farrell was only then beginning to build consensus for:

From: Dan Halden <daniel.halden@lacity.org>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2018 13:55:39 -0700
Subject: Meeting TOMORROW re: Temporary Homeless Housing Facility — Tuesday 4/10, 6:00 PM
To: Amy Held <Amy.Held@larchmontcharter.org>

Hi Amy,

​I hope you are well!

Our office is organizing a discussion with key community stakeholders to get some feedback on a potential temporary homeless housing facility in the Hollywood area​ (specifically near Larchmont Charter’s Selma Ave campus).​

The meeting will be ​held tomorrow, Tuesday April 10th at 6:00 PM at the BID Office, 6562 Hollywood Blvd.​ Apologies for the relatively late notice.​

It would be great to have you there representing ​Larchmont Charter School​.​ Glendy Marin from Selma Ave Elementary will also be attending.​ This is not a large meeting, but rather a smaller discussion (invite-only) with a specific group of folks so we can have a more intimate discussion. Please let me know if you can join us.

Thanks!

Dan Halden
Hollywood Field Deputy

Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District
1722 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 207-3015 | daniel.halden@lacity.org | www.cd13.com

Then follows some blah blah blah about is anyone from LCS going to attend, and then Halden sent out this last little reminder. It’s mostly the same as the original invite, but it contains a stronger reiteration of the private and exclusive nature of this event:

Once again, this is a relatively small, invite-only discussion (additional/larger chances to weigh in will be forthcoming, if the project moves forward), so please do not transfer this invitation to anyone else without checking with me first.

The import of the exclusivity here is the light shed on the behind scenes buy-in creation process that, I’m beginning to be pretty certain, is used by all Council offices.6 They first get some elites on their side, and only then, with all that social capital in hand, will they hold more open discussions. By then, of course, their minds are made up because they’ve already calculated who they have the political juice to ignore.

Anyway, the invite gave Amy Held the in she needed to write to Halden a month later, in May 2018, about how all the Richie Rich parents at the LCS campus co-located at Selma Elementary School, right near where the project was going in, were concerned, which is privileged NIMBY-speak for absolutely opposed for any number of reasons, none of them based in reality.

Even though, of course, in the obligatory declaration of compassion, empathy, and deep, deep sympathy, they’re careful to state that they’re all in favor of “finding more permanent solutions to the homelessness crisis in LA,” stated precisely like that, with no awareness whatsoever7 that the phraseology suggests a final solution, than which, of course, no more permanent solution can be found, involving maybe humane kill homeless shelters.8 Here’s what she had to say:

Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 12:00:20 -0700
Subject: Larchmont Charter COMMUNITY CONCERNED re: Temporary Homeless Housing Facility — Tuesday 4/10, 6:00 PM
From: Amy Held <amy.held@larchmontcharter.org>
To: Dan Halden <daniel.halden@lacity.org>

Hi Dan,

Hope you are doing well. Reaching out because we weren’t able to attend that meeting on such short notice and now are just hearing from parents at our school that they’re very worried and against the proposed homeless camp near the YMCA. For context – we had a huge encampment on the sidewalk outside our 6th St. campus (on Lafayette Park) that literally obstructed kids as they traveled to and from school and there were needles everywhere, people fighting, shouting at them and doing all kinds of inappropriate things inside the tents. Parents are worried for their kids’ safety. Our community’s really supportive of finding more permanent solutions to the homelessness crisis in LA and in fact have partnered with the agency across the street from Selma on multiple service learning projects for students and families to help their clients. We want to be part of the solution but cannot support anything that will create an unsafe environment immediately surrounding campus. I hope you understand and can guide us both in terms of information about what’s being proposed, what stage in the decision making things are at, who’s deciding, etc.

Thank you,

Amy

Which is pretty typical NIMBY fare, what with the imagined sensational horrors such as shouting and doing not just inappropriate things in tents, but actually ALL KINDS of them. Not sure what she means by inappropriate, though, given that she’s talking about people’s homes. Also not sure how she knows what they’re doing in their tents unless she’s a peeper, which is not entirely implausible, of course. And also of course Amy Held’s brand of delusion-based NIMBYism is exceedingly mild compared to the kinds of unhinged housedwellers, like e.g. Anthony Kilhoffer, with whom Halden’s used to dealing.

But nevertheless, as his almost-immediate reply makes very clear, he wants to be sure that she’s aware, that the Richie Riches who she represents are aware, that they’re not just bringing in a shelter, but that the shelter will provide a pretext for enhanced enforcement of pretextual laws against homeless people in the neighborhood, a prospect which is as soothing to the breast of the NIMBY as is music to that of the wild beast. Note also his attempt to talk to her on the phone before emailing and his provision of his personal cell phone number and a recurring offer to talk. Bet you wish you got that kind of attention from Council staff, eh?

From: Dan Halden <daniel.halden@lacity.org>
Date: Mon, 7 May 2018 12:17:07 -0700
Subject: Re: Larchmont Charter COMMUNITY CONCERNED re: Temporary Homeless Housing Facility — Tuesday 4/10, 6:00 PM
To: Amy Held <amy.held@larchmontcharter.org>
Cc: Jeanne Min <jeanne.min@lacity.org>, Tony Arranaga <tony.arranaga@lacity.org>

Hi Amy,

I just tried calling you, but there is no option of reaching you at the number provided.

There are a number of items regarding this proposal for a temporary facility that we should discuss — namely, the fact that it would include 24/7 security, and, as part of the Mayor’s new “A Bridge Home” program, would also allow for additional resources and enforcement tools to come to the area.

There is also a community open house tomorrow, Tuesday 5/8/18, from 6-7:30 PM, where folks can learn a little bit more about what the facility would look like, what the operations might entail, and what the City and County are doing to end homelessness. I’m attaching flyers in English and Spanish to this email. This notification has gone out to stakeholders in the area both in person and online (the Councilmember hand-delivered flyers to Selma Elementary on Friday, and we spoke to parents about it then), but I apologize if you did not receive it.

Please let me know if you are able to speak this afternoon so I can answer some of your questions and concerns, and clear up any misconceptions. My cell is 213-254-7214.

Thank you,

Dan Halden
Hollywood Field Deputy

Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District
1722 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 207-3015 | daniel.halden@lacity.org | www.cd13.com

And they had the meeting, but evidently there were still “misconceptions” left among the target audience, which I’m interpreting to mean more angry made-up NIMBY grievances although I don’t (yet) have an evidence for that position. But remember how Tony Arranaga described the process? Building whatever among whomevers, or whatever it was? That’s why Halden sent Held a follow-up, offering yet another personal and private meeting and revealing that Mitch O’Farrell himself talked to these LCS privatizers about homelessness. Because that’s how important their buy-in was to him:

From: Dan Halden <daniel.halden@lacity.org>
Date: Thu, 10 May 2018 15:19:21 -0700
Subject: following up – Larchmont Charter School
To: Amy Held <Amy.Held@larchmontcharter.org>, ginnia.harkins@larchmontcharter.org

Amy and Ginnia,

I hope you’re well! Amy, great talking to you on Tuesday, and Ginnia, great meeting you — I’m so glad you were able to come. We were very pleased with the turnout and the overall response. Councilmember O’Farrell even got to speak with several LCS folks himself.

I want to follow up with you both regarding ways we can continue the conversation, answer questions, and clear up some misconceptions regarding the proposal for the temporary bridge housing facility on Schrader.

I’ll be in Hollywood tomorrow (Friday 5/11), around the corner from the Selma Ave campus. Do you have some time at 10:15 AM to sit down and chat? I’d like to discuss setting up a follow-up meeting/discussion with the LCS community.

Best,

Dan Halden
Hollywood Field Deputy

Office of Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell, 13th District
1722 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 207-3015 | daniel.halden@lacity.org | www.cd13.com

They ended up not being able to meet in person because they’re all so darn busy saving the world or whatever the hell it is they’re up to, but they had a cozy little conference call and presumably cleared up some misconceptions and/or generated some buy-in. Following up, Halden sent Held this polite little note, attached some attachments,9 and proposed a coffee date with a bunch of LCS parents. The emails flew back and forth, with O’Farrell scheduler Dave Cano getting involved at some point so you know they’re getting serious not to mention practically lovey-dovey as all get-out.10

And it’s a truth universally acknowledged that a privatizer/housedweller who participates in these buy-in building charades must be in want of some access. They seem to understand this like the mother’s milk they breathe,11 and it starts right away with this crew. Behold, e.g., this slab of subterranean crazy from Shirin Shojapour, attorney at law and in-house counsel for some creepy private security company and therefore yet another homeless-industrial complex profiteer, who is obviously concerned with punitivity over sensitivity:

From: shirin shojapour <sshojapour@gmail.com>
Date: Tue, 15 May 2018 10:14:53 -0700
Subject: Re: Rendering, Floor Plan, and FAQs for Proposed Temporary Bridge Housing Facility
To: Dan Halden <daniel.halden@lacity.org>
Cc: Kira Sardy <kirasardy@me.com>, Steven Ho <steven.ho8323@gmail.com>, Blythe Baten <blythebaten@gmail.com>, Jeanne Min <jeanne.min@lacity.org>, Tony Arranaga <tony.arranaga@lacity.org>, Amy Held <Amy.Held@larchmontcharter.org>, ginnia.harkins@larchmontcharter.org

Hi Dan,

Here is a huge question that comes to mind. What steps, if any, will be taken to identify the mentally ill and chemical dependents who will use the facility. If and when identified, what rules will pertain to them and how will they be enforced.

Thanks,

Shirin

And even more access asked and granted. Here’s Amy Held introducing Halden and Kathleen Davidson,12 ” one of our Larchmont parents with questions regarding the temporary bridge housing proposal.” And here’s Dan Halden, replying two minutes later, stating that he had already emailed and called her earlier but not made contact, which proves that Held was indeed dispensing access. I mean, in case you’re wondering why your CM won’t listen to you, this is why.

And then the floodgates were opened! All these privatizers were best buds with Dan Halden and they were gonna use it! And for the most amazingly dumb-ass crapola, too. Like e.g. here’s privatizer parent slash Food Network influencer Daphne Brogdon emailing Amy Held trying to get Mitch O’Farrell to do something drastic about some bullshit billboards that were ratfucking her wa by being motherfucking R-rated:

From: Daphne Brogdon <daphnebrogdon@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2018 14:32:52 -0700
Subject: Re: Tomorrow’s Meeting with Councilman O’Farrell
To: “Amy Held, Larchmont Charter School” <amy.held@larchmontcharter.org>

Please ask him to get the billboard company to not post R rated movies over hollygrove. Ive called his office. Alussa alk to billboard company. Theysaid they wouldn’t but they do.
Thx
Daphne

And Amy Held sent it along to Dan Halden, hoping to call in yet another marker. But to his credit, for freaking one time, Dan Halden did the quasi-right thing and was all like First Amendment, hello?! But he did invite her to send a photo of the billboard for him to send to the City Attorney. Probably just empty placation, though.

And on and on with the quid pro backscratch-o! In June Dan Halden was all like hello friends! Have a traffic control officer for construction! And then they all exchanged another zillion emails working out the painful little details. And then there came a time when a construction worker said the word “fucking” in front of some kids! And the people were sore dismayed! So Amy Held wrote to Dan Halden! And Dan Halden wrote to some guy from the Bureau of Engineering! And everybody agreed it was bad!

And then Dan Halden was all like Amy Held! Let’s have another top secret meeting about the bridge housing with just you and me and don’t tell anyone else! And Amy Held was all like sure friend that makes me feel real special! And Dan Halden was all great! And I am also inviting Heather Duffy Boylston from your board of directors!13 And there were tons more emails! And Dan Halden kept reminding everyone that the meeting was secret! And not public! And held at the damn Hollywood BID around the damn corner!

And so it goes. The Council Office needs buy-in for its homeless thing. In return the buyers-in get access and consideration. And this time it was for a good project, a homeless shelter. But often it’s not. The process, not the outcome, is what dismays about these things. And look at the trivial crap these Larchmontane privatizers squander their access on. Offensive billboards. Bad words said in front of children. A nominally sympathetic ear to hear their conscience-self-soothing fantasies about homeless people and what they’re doing in their tents. Getting a traffic control officer for some construction. It’s so hollow, so bush league. So ordinary. But worth looking at, surely, or why are you even reading this sentence?


Image of Councilflunky Daniel X. Halden is not only ©2019 MichaelKohlhaas.Org but it’s also, you know, masterfully reworked from this councilflunky pix here!

  1. Not as a source of facts, of course, but certainly as a source of insight into just what the hell these people think they’re up to out at 200 N. Spring Street. It’s not a pretty sight, looking into their heads, but we have to do it, at least until we vote them out and get some reps who we can trust enough to allow us to forgo our tea leaves and tarot cards and X-ray brain scans as the tools of political analysis they should never be and just, for once, just listen to their unmediated words to accurately understand what’s going on in our municipal government. Not that there’s anything wrong with tea leaves or tarot cards (don’t know about X-ray brain scans). There’s not. But I don’t want to be forced to turn to them, even metaphorically, to see through an unrelenting hailstorm of lies, deflections, and unrelenting bullshit. You may say that I’m a dreamer but…OK, maybe you have a point.
  2. Or “focus,” as Mr. Dan Halden calls it in a whole other context. Hi Dan!
  3. And, of course, mocking.
  4. Equals really interesting to me, as always. I certainly wouldn’t presume to speak for you, but on the other hand, if you’re even reading my footnotes, and this far down in the post also, I suppose you’re interested as well!
  5. Voted, incidentally, in an impromptu poll of this blog’s editorial staff to be the most likely Mitch O’Farrell staffie to kill someone he didn’t know just because someone told him to, an honor for which he is tied for first place with every single one of the rest of his CD13 colleagues. H/T Camper Van Beethoven for the genius phraseology! Oh, also, no, I don’t know what the “X” stands for. Don’t even know if it’s the guy’s real middle initial. Don’t even know does the guy even have a middle initial. Made the whole thing up from scratch because I’ve been thinking a lot about the Society of Jesus the last few days for reasons unrelated to anything in this post.
  6. And most likely by the Mayor as well, although the Office of the Mayor’s compliance with the CPRA is far, far worse than even the worst Council office, and that’s already pretty bad. So it’s been hard to get any evidence about it.
  7. I mean I certainly HOPE there’s no awareness!
  8. As far as I know, none of these NIMBYs have actually proposed humane kill shelters. Whether it’s the humane part or the shelter part or both that’s stopping them I don’t know. Although given their propensity for suggesting inhumane methods of killing, e.g. these geniuses with firebombs and these other geniuses with starvation, and their already well-documented hatred of shelter for anyone who’s not already sheltered, it’s I guess most likely to be both.
  9. The attachments are available as well: one, two, three, and four.
  10. There’s no need to link to this chaff individually, but as I said above you can browse all of it and more here on Archive.Org.
  11. I’m too old to take my metaphorical cliches straight up any more, must mix them up for the sake of the stomach. Shaken, not stirred, please.
  12. At kathleendavidson@gmail.com, if you also want to get in touch.
  13. Who readers of this blog may also recall as one of the moving forces behind that creepy little white supremacist backwater business improvement district out in Larchmont Village, who recently fought the law and the law won!
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